Read Proverbs Chapter 3.
“Don’t be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” Proverbs 3:7
Recently I started using a Hebrew-Greek Key Word Bible. It gives you the definitions of the words in their original translation. This particular verse had four original words in it: wise, fear, away and evil. I looked up each of their original meanings, seeking the word God wanted me to focus on. I thought it was going to be wise, for obvious reasons, but it wasn’t. It was evil.
Do you know how I knew? The definition for evil in its original form is almost an entire page. Of all of the definitions, this one was the longest. Why is evil’s definition so much longer than the other words in this particular verse? I think there are two main reasons: there are so many types of evil and there are so many examples of evil in the Bible.
Away’s definition was second. There are almost as many ways to turn from evil as there are evils in this world. Fear was third, which we’ve already talked about. Wise was last, in this verse it’s used to describe someone skilled or experienced.
One part of the definition of evil says, “it displays 10 or various shades” of the meaning of the word. Evil does come in shades. For example: “Would the alcoholic have taken the first drink if he/she knew it would ruin their life?” I would hope and pray the answer is no. My point being, evil is corrupt, desperate, destructive, greedy and so much more. One drink is not evil. For someone who has an addiction to alcohol, they don’t know it when the take the first drink. You can’t be addicted to something you’ve never tried. No one would do that to themselves.
Here is another example. Immerse a frog in cold water in a pot on the stove, then turn the heat on. By the time the frog realizes he is boiling it’s too late. Because he is cold blooded, his blood has been rising steadily with the temperature of the water. He didn’t notice a change until it’s too late.
That’s evil. And being wise in your own eyes is equivalent to being a frog in cold water. The heat is rising and you don’t even know it. So what do you do?
You keep your eyes on Jesus. You let Him lead you. You let Him humble you. You let Him turn you away from evil. By following His prompting, whatever it is for you, He’ll let you know when you need to turn away. And from what. What is evil for one, isn’t necessarily evil for someone else.
As the definition says, there are a lot of shades to evil. But only one God. Fear Him, not evil.